Posted by: SATYASRINIVAS | July 5, 2007

Dr. Abdul Kalaam’s Speech

Dr. Abdul Kalaam’s Speech

I have three visions for India.

In 3000 years of our history people from all over the world have come and
invaded us, captured our lands, conquered our minds. From Alexander onwards.
The Greeks, the Turks, the Moguls, the Portuguese, the British, the French, the
Dutch, all of them came and looted us, took over what was ours.

Yet we have not done this to any other nation. We have not conquered anyone. We
have not grabbed their land, their culture, and their history and tried to
enforce our way of life on them. Why? Because we respect the freedom of others.
That is why my first vision is that of FREEDOM. I believe that India got its
first vision of this in 1857, when we started the war of independence. It is
this freedom that we must protect and nurture and build on. If we are not free,
no one will respect us.

My second vision for India is DEVELOPMENT. For fifty years we have been a
developing nation. It is time we see ourselves as a developed nation. We are
among top 5 nations of the world in terms of GDP. We have 10 percent growth
rate in most areas. Our poverty levels are falling. Our achievements are being
globally recognized today. Yet we lack the self-confidence to see ourselves as
a developed nation, self-reliant and self-assured. Isn’t this incorrect?

I have a THIRD vision. India must STAND UP to the world. Because I believe that
unless India stands up to the world, no one will respect us. Only strength
respects strength. We must be strong not only as a military power but also as
an economic power. Both must go hand-in-hand.

My good fortune was to have worked with three great minds. Dr.Vikram Sarabhai
of the Dept. of space, Professor Satish Dhawan, who succeeded him and Dr. Brahm
Prakash, father of nuclear material. I was lucky to have worked with all three
of them closely and consider this the great opportunity of my life.

I see four milestones in my career:

ONE: Twenty years I spent in ISRO. I was given the opportunity to be the
project director for India’s first satellite launch vehicle, SLV3. The one that
launched Rohini. These years played a very important role in my life of

TWO: After my ISRO years, I joined DRDO and got a chance to be the part of
India’s guided missile program. It was my second bliss when Agni met its
mission requirements in 1994.

THREE: The Dept. of Atomic Energy and DRDO had this tremendous partnership in
the recent nuclear tests, on May 11 and 13. This was the third bliss. The joy
of participating with my team in these nuclear tests and proving to the world
that India can make it, that we are no longer a developing nation but one of
them. It made me feel very proud as an Indian. The fact that we have now
developed for Agni a re-entry structure, for which we have developed this new
material. A Very light material called carbon-carbon.

FOUR: One day an orthopaedic surgeon from Nizam Institute of Medical Sciences
visited my laboratory. He lifted the material and found it so light that he
took me to his hospital and showed me his patients. There were these little
girls and boys with heavy metallic calipers weighing over three Kg. each,
dragging their feet around. He said to me: Please remove the pain of my
patients. In three weeks, we made these Floor reaction Orthosis 300 gram
callipers and took them to the orthopedic centre. The children didn’t believe
their eyes. From dragging around a three kg load on their legs, they could now
move around! Their parents had tears in their eyes. That was my fourth bliss!

Why is the media here so negative? Why are we in India so embarrassed to
recognize our own strengths, our achievements? We are such a great nation. We
have so many amazing success stories but we refuse to acknowledge them.

Why? We are the first in milk production. We are number one in Remote sensing
satellites. We are the second largest producer of wheat. We are the second
largest producer of rice. Look at Dr. Sudarshan; he has transferred the tribal
village into a self-sustaining, self-driving unit. There are millions of such
achievements but our media is only obsessed in the bad news and failures and

I was in Tel Aviv once and I was reading the Israeli newspaper. It was the day
after a lot of attacks and bombardments and deaths had taken place. The Hamas
had struck. But the front page of the newspaper had the picture of a Jewish
gentleman who in five years had transformed his desert land into an orchid and
a granary. It was this inspiring picture that everyone woke up to. The gory
details of killings, bombardments, deaths, were inside in the newspaper, buried
among other news. In India we only read about death, sickness, terrorism,
crime. Why are we so NEGATIVE?

Another question: Why are we, as a nation so obsessed with foreign things? We
want foreign TVs. We want foreign shirts. We want foreign technology. Why this
obsession with everything imported. Do we not realize that self-respect comes
with self-reliance? I was in Hyderabad giving this lecture, when a 14 years old
girl asked me for my autograph. I asked her what her goal in life is: She
replied: I want to live in a developed India. For her, you and I will have to
build this developed India. You must proclaim. India is not an under-developed
nation; it is a highly developed nation.

Do you have 10 minutes?

Allow me to come back with vengeance. Got 10 minutes for your country? If yes,
then read; otherwise, choice is yours. YOU say that our government is
inefficient. YOU say that our laws are too old. YOU say that the municipality
does not pick up the garbage. YOU say that the phones don’t work, the railways
are a joke, the airline is the worst in the world, and mails never reach their
destination. YOU say that our country has been fed to the dogs and is the
absolute pits. YOU say, say and say. What do YOU do about it?

Take a person on his way to Singapore. Give him a name – YOURS. Give him a face
– YOURS. YOU walk out of the airport and you are at your International best. In
Singapore you don’t throw cigarette butts on the roads or eat in the stores.
YOU are as proud of their Underground Links as they are. You pay $5 (approx.
Rs.60) to drive through Orchard Road (equivalent of Mahim causeway or Pedder
Road) between 5 PM and 8 PM. YOU comeback to the parking lot to punch your
parking ticket if you have over stayed in a restaurant or a shopping mall
irrespective of your status identity.

In Singapore you don’t say anything, DO YOU? YOU wouldn’t dare to eat in public
during Ramadan, in Dubai. YOU would not dare to go out without your head
covered in Jeddah. YOU would not dare to buy an employee of the telephone
exchange in London at 10 pounds (Rs.650) a month to, “see to it that my STD and
ISD calls are billed to someone else. ” YOU would not dare to speed beyond 55
mph (88 kmph) in Washington and then tell the traffic
cop, “Jaanta hai sala main kaun hoon (Do you know who I am?). I am so and so’s
son. Take your two bucks and get lost.” YOU wouldn’t chuck an empty coconut
shell anywhere other than the garbage pail on the beaches in Australia and New
Zealand. Why don’t YOU spit Paan on the streets of Tokyo? Why don’t YOU use
examination jockeys or buy fake certificates in Boston? We are still talking of
the same YOU. YOU who can respect and conform to a foreign system in other
countries but cannot in your own. You who will throw papers and cigarettes on
the road the moment you touch Indian ground. You can be an involved and
appreciative citizen in an alien country why cannot you be the same here in

Once in an interview, the famous Ex-municipal commissioner of Bombay
Mr.Tinaikar had a point to make. “Rich people’s dogs are walked on the streets
to leave their affluent droppings all over the place,” he said. “And then the
same people turn around to criticize and blame the authorities for inefficiency
and dirty pavements. What do they expect the officers to do? Go down with a
broom every time their dog feels the pressure in his bowels? In America every
dog owner has to clean up after his pet has done the job. Same in Japan. Will
the Indian citizen do that here?”

He’s right. We go to the polls to choose a government and after that forfeit
all responsibility. We sit back wanting to be pampered and expect the
government to do everything for us whilst our contribution is totally negative.
We expect the government to clean up but we are not going to stop chucking
garbage all over the place or are we going to stop to pick a up a stray piece
of paper and throw it in the bin. We expect the railways to provide clean
bathrooms but we are not going to learn the proper use of bathrooms. We want
Indian Airlines and Air India to provide the best of food and toiletries but we
are not going to stop pilfering at the least opportunity. This applies even to
the staff who is known not to pass on the service to the public. When it comes
to burning social issues like those related to women, dowry, girl child and
others, we make loud drawing room protestations and continue to do the reverse
at home. Our excuse?

“It’s the whole system which has to change, how will it matter if I alone
forego my sons’ rights to a dowry.”

So who’s going to change the system? What does a system consist of? Very
conveniently for us it consists of our neighbors, other households, other
cities, other communities and the government.

But definitely not me and YOU.

When it comes to us actually making a positive contribution to the system we
lock ourselves along with our families into a safe cocoon and look into the
distance at countries far away and wait for a Mr. Clean to come along & work
miracles for us with a majestic sweep of his hand.

Or we leave the country and run away. Like lazy cowards hounded by our fears we
run to America to bask in their glory and praise their system. When New York
becomes insecure we run to England. When England experiences unemployment, we
take the next flight out to the Gulf. When the Gulf is war struck, we demand to
be rescued and brought home by the Indian government.

Everybody is out to abuse and rape the country. Nobody thinks of feeding the
system. Our conscience is mortgaged to money.

Dear Indians, The article is highly thought inductive, calls for a great deal
of introspection and pricks one’s conscience too…. I am echoing J.F.
Kennedy’s words to his fellow Americans to relate to Indians.
End of Speech

Lets do what India needs from us. Forward this mail to each Indian.


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